What is causing your back pain?
There’s a condition that you possibly haven’t heard of, and it’s one of the most common sources of lower back pain. If you have experienced continuous lower back pain at any point, this may be your important first step to recovery.
The Term: Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction
Who is affected primarily?
SI Joint Dysfunction is more commonly found in women, due to hormones that affect the ligament laxity. You would especially see this in prenatal and postnatal women when hormones are highly fluctuating.
This can also occur in both genders when heavy impact is involved, such as in motor vehicle accidents, falls, poor ergonomics and certain sports and activities. The main problem is the creation of one-sided dependencies or adjusted sitting positions due to injury.
This condition is found in people of any age, but is not as common in adolescents. Other related conditions such as leg length discrepancies, altered gait patterns and arthritis are also big culprits.
The condition involves the joint where the sacrum attaches to the ilium bone
The SI joint can take on multiple dysfunctional states with or without damage to the ligaments that stabilize it. This means that you could have damaged ligaments from the recovery phase of your injury or repeated motion. Your ligaments can go through mechanical changes, which is a reason for the SI joint to become strained.
Which symptoms would you feel?
You would feel continuous pain in the lower back, buttocks, side of the leg, back of the leg and the groin (see diagram). However, this pain may or may not radiate into all these areas.
In fact, symptoms get worse within repeated movements such as getting up from a chair, hiking on an incline, climbing stairs, rolling in bed, running and even prolonged standing or sitting.
Why does it matter?
SI dysfunction can co-exist with sciatica, which is a pain caused by compression to the spinal nerve root in the lower back. It is important for SI dysfunction to be properly diagnosed (and distinguished), with a more thorough assessment by a physical therapist.
Personal Message from Carlee, our Physiotherapist in Calgary:
“I have suffered from SI joint pain for many years as a result of a horseback riding accident, and many years of sport-related mechanisms. The dysfunction really can have a large impact on daily living as even the smallest movements or positions can elicit an intense symptomatic response such as bending forward or getting out of bed.”
Exercises That Can Help:
An exercise you can do is referred to as the Clamshell. This movement with others can significantly reduce the pain and severity of SI Joint Dysfunction.
- Lie on your side with your spine aligned with the edge of your mat.
- Stack your legs one on top of the other and align your shoulders hips and knees in a straight line.
- Exhale as you lift the top knee up, keeping your feet stacked.
- Your legs should look like an open clamshell. Inhale as you close your legs.
- Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times, keeping your pelvis steady throughout the movement.
- Perform all of the side clam exercises before switching to your second hip and leg.
What You Can Do To Recover
This condition may require medical management, but there are ways to correct this pain. If you are exhibiting any of the above symptoms, Nose Creek Sport Physiotherapy can help you.
Our assessment involves both movement and structural examination, so that we can decipher the cause of the dysfunction. We then provide the best approach to the treatment. Our clinic provides exercise guides, manual therapy and various modalities for pain relief and muscle retraining.
We take every step to educate you on how to maximize your healing potential and prevent re-injury. We will get you moving faster and feeling better. Taking care of your back pain now is one of the best investments in your long term health.